Tours of Israel and Egypt, 15 days biblical desert tour in the Negev and the Sinai deserts
The desert is not dying it is merely waiting with infinite patience.
Tours in Sinai: The Sinai's High Range
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Tours of Israel, Biblical Desert-Tour Negev/Sinai (Israel Tours)
This tour is intended for all those who want to leave the comfort of home behind, and experience the Bible intimately, in its place of occurrence. The most important characters of the Bible, starting from Abraham, Moses, King David, the Prophets, and on to Jesus, started their period of activity with an "apprenticeship" in the Desert. Each person who really wants to understand their values should also be acquainted with life in the Desert. This Journey brings us to a close encounter with the nature of the Holy Land, and with the life of the people of the desert that did not change much during thousands of years. In Israel we use comfortable 4x4 cars, and in the Sinai we use camels to carry our luggage. The camels are accompanied by Bedouins that share their way of life with us, and enable us to experience life just the way it used to be in Biblical Times. In part of the nights we sleep under the star-covered desert-sky. In those nights where we enjoy a roof over our head, we sleep in simple, yet comfortable, rural accommodations, with a local atmosphere. The nature of such a tour is, of course, that we regard this program just as a suggestion. Our experienced Guide will probably change parts of it according to the conditions "on the ground". This tour is planned to avoid dangerous sites, and is considered a safe journey, even after the last events in this region.
Arrival in Eilat and transfer to your Hotel. O/N: Eilat.
The beginning of this day is intended to be at leisure, to enable you to acclimate. In the afternoon we drive with jeeps through the colorful Yedidya-Pass to the "Black Canyon" (Nachal* Shechoret) where we will go on a 2-hours hike through this colored landscape. We continue by jeep through the "Wadi of the Sculptures" (Nachal* HaPesalim) to the Oasis Be'er* Ora, where an ancient place of worship was excavated. This site gives us a better understanding of the way the monotheistic belief developed from the desert. Camp in the vicinity of the Timna Valley.
Today we have an extensive day in the Timna Valley, a place the Israelites passed during the Exodus-Journey. We will have a few short hikes, visit the 1:1 Model of the Tabernacle, as well as antique mines, Temples, and Rock-Inscriptions from the Time of the Exodus. Then we drive with our jeeps up the ancient "Dawn-Ascent" (Ma`ale* Shacharut), an old path, used for thousands of years by the Camel-Caravans. After viewing the Arava-Valley from the top of the Shacharut-Cliff, we continue to the Uvda-Valley, where a few interesting nomadic Temples where found. Visiting those temples gives us an insight to the spiritual world in the time of the Bible, and to the reason why Monotheism originated in this desert. Camp by the Kasui Sand Dunes.
Tours in the Southern Negev: The Eilat Mountains
We drive to the "Ramon Crater", a unique geological phenomena, only to be found in Israel. We start our tour in the "Crater" by driving steeply up to the viewing-point at the top of Har* (Mt.) Gewanim. A short drive through Nachal* Gewanim brings us to the Saharonim Ridge, a very unique hiking route, with a wide view over vast areas of the Negev Desert. Then we hike down toward the Oasis Ein* Saharonim, a Caravanserai on the famous "Incense Road". We continue along the "Incense Road", and drive down the steep Ma`ale* Dekalim ("Ascent of the Palms") and stop shortly by the "Dykes" at Nachal* Ardon - an outstanding geological phenomenon. Our Jeeps follow the footsteps of the incense caravans, and take us up the Noah Ascent to the Machmal Fortress that was built overlooking the cliffs of the Ramon Crater. O/N MITZPE RAMON.
We continue on the "Incense Road" to the Nabatean city Avdat and also visit Ben-Gurion's Tomb, situated in a park overlooking the Zin Valley. From here we continue along the biblical border of The Promised Land to the Oasis Ein* Akev (swimming opportunity!) and Ein* Zik, where we can undertake a short hike through its dense vegetation. We continue to drive through "The Wilderness of Zin", following the Exodus Route. Shortly before sunset we climb Har* (Mt.) Zin, identified by some scholars as "Mt. Hor", burial place of Aaron. O/N: CAMP outside, or in the hospice of the Christian-Messianic settlement IR OVOT.
After a short hike through the Oasis Ein* Zin, we drive up the Akrabim Ascent and stop at the viewing-point for an explanation of the Biblical and Historical heritage of the Akrabim Ascent and the area. This is followed by a short off-road drive to "The Small Crater" (Machtesh* Katan). We hike down into the Crater over the Eli Ascent to walk through the colorful sandstone at its bottom (3-4 hours hike). After a challenging jeep-drive to the marble-white Peres Waterholes, we set out to look for our camp for tonight.
A short drive brings us to the bizarre Lisan-Marl- Formation of the Amiaz Plain, where we undertake a hike to the “Flour Cave”. Then we drive up Mt. Sodom (yeah… this Sodom!!!) to view the Dead Sea and the area, and talk about its Biblical and Geographical uniqueness. Another off-road drive through the Roman fortress Metzad* Hatrurim brings us to the foot of the famous fortress Masada, which we climb from behind, via the Roman Ramp. Night: in Arad.
We start with a hike through the Ein* Gedi Nature Reserve, where King David hid from King Saul, who prosecuted him. Ein* Gedi is also a great place to understand the “Song of Songs” and other Biblical texts. We also take the opportunity to bath in the Dead Sea. Then we drive towards Eilat “by the Red Sea, in the Land of Edom” and cross the modern border to Egypt. After the necessary formalities we drive in an Egyptian car to a hotel by the Red Sea, where we spend the night. Night: hotel by the Red Sea.
After breakfast in our hotel, we pack our gear on Jeeps and drive towards “The Colored Canyon”, where we hike (Ca. 1 hour) through the colorful gorge. Then we drive to St. Catherine's Village, where we have lunch in the local Bedouin Restaurant. Our gear is taken to the local Sheikh's House, where it is being loaded on Camels that will accompany us during the Sinai-Trek, just like in Biblical times. A short hike on some ancient camel-roads brings us to a Bedouin Garden, where we spend the night.
Hike through Wadi Tal'a, where many Palm-Trees can be seen. A steep ascent through Wadi Shag brings us to a natural spring, where, in years with sufficient rain, there is a swimming opportunity. Then we climb through the narrow gorge of Wadi Sagr, after which we set our camp in a Bedouin Garden nearby.
Negev tours: The Small Crater
In the morning we visit the Bedouin Holy Site Sheikh Santa, which gives us an insight to the way holy places were attended in Biblical times. Then we continue on a well-frequented Camel-Road to Wadi Tinya ("The Wadi of the Figs"). Another well-built road brings us up Jebel (Mt.) Abbas Pasha. An ancient path, used also by the Byzantine eremites brings us to our next campsite, in a Bedouin Garden as well.
Today we ascend the famous Mt. Moses, but we climb it from behind, on a less known route, that enables us to see some ancient hermitages, dated back to the times of the first Christian monks. Except for the majestic landscapes, this area enables us to understand the roots of Monotheism and Christianity. Night: camp at the foot of Mt. Moses.
We descend Mt. Moses on the "Stairs of Repentance" (Ca. 4000 stairs) to visit the St. Catherine Monastery. This monastery is the oldest continuously active monastery in the world, and hence famous for its large collection of ancient icons and manuscripts. We will also be able to visit the traditional site of "The Burning Bush" and "Jetro's Well". Then we drive back to the village, where our camels await us with our luggage. Our transportation has from now on 4 wheels again... On our way down toward the Red Sea we can visit the "Rock of Inscriptions" where pilgrims left their marks during centuries, and also view the Oasis Ein Hudra (Biblical Hatzerot?) from an Observation-Point nearby. Night: hotel by the Red Sea.
At leisure by the Red Sea. Night: Depending on flight times in Sinai or Eilat.
Transfer to airport and return flight.
Har* (Mt.) Karkom should naturally also be included in this tour. This Mountain, that was recently identified as biblical Mt. Sinai/Horeb, where the Ten Commandments were given, is the classical place to experience and understand the Story of the Exodus. As this mountain is situated in a Military Firing Zone, where the Israeli Army is training with life ammunition, it can only be visited during weekends (Fridays or Saturdays). The a.m. program is only considered a suggestion, and hence we don't know yet about the dates in which it will take place. Therefore we did not include Mt. Karkom in this program. Har* Karkom can be reached both from Mitzpe Ramon and Eilat, so it can be inserted into the program any day during the Negev part of the tour, but instead of the program of that particular day. Following a description of that day:
Today we start an expedition to Mt. Karkom, the real Mt. Sinai, where the Ten Commandments were given, according to some recent researches. This mountain is located in a very desolate desert region, only accessible by jeeps. Once our jeeps arrive at the mountain, we take a hike along the different altars and ancient, mysterious rock-inscriptions, which are characteristic to this mountain. We will have a picnic-lunch (included) in the desert.